Summary: In Christ we discover God is not cranky and condemning but loving and redeeming.
THE MISUNDERSTOOD GOD: THE CONDEMNING GOD**
Big Idea: In Christ we discover God is not cranky and condemning but loving and redeeming.
Have you ever spoken terrible things to a dog in a kind voice? I must confess I have. I have pet Bogey (my Cocker Spaniel) and said things like, “O you stupid stupid dog. You are dumber than a box of rocks and absolutely useless.” All the while I am saying this Bogey is wagging his tail, licking my face, drawing close, and shaking with joy even though I am saying bad things to him. Have you ever spoken kind words to a dog in a harsh voice? It tucks its tail, cowers to the ground and stays at a distance because it senses it is being scolded.
I will come back to this; listen as I read 1 Corinthians 13:1-4 and verse 6 to you.
1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
If we are not careful this couplet’s explanation of love can get a little “muddy.” Most of it has to do with our modern day understanding of the word evil. In the context of 1 Cor. 13, evil has a rather broad range of meaning. In that sense it is much like the word “shalom” which has a much broader meaning that merely peace. “Evil” has many nuances & expressions. Its meaning includes disharmony, malice, injustice, wrongdoing, and falsehood. Truth also has a large range of meaning. It would include that which is right/righteous, goodness, purity, and unity/union. When we understand evil and truth to imply these broad ranges of meaning we can begin to see how they contrast each other.
6 Love does not delight in disharmony but rejoices in unity.
6 Love does not delight in injustice but rejoices in righteousness.
6 Love does not delight in wrongdoing but rejoices in goodness.
6 Love does not delight in malice but rejoices in purity.
6 Love does not delight in falsehood but rejoices in the truth.
When it comes to loving relationships we can see how evil and truth become very relevant and too often, familiar. And, when we begin to allow love to take on meanings which are harmful, false, or unjust we are in danger of projecting those meanings to God’s character since “God is love.”
That is why we must understand that when it comes to love,
1. TRUTH BRINGS FREEDOM – NOT FEAR (1 JOHN 4:18)
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. (1 John 4:18)
“The playground bluff”
Have you ever seen someone at the park with their children and they are having such a good time that they don’t want to leave? But dad has been there quite a long time and there are other obligations so he begins to gather things up and prepare the kids for departure.